10 Myths About Starting a Business

March 8, 2013 | By | Reply More

When I started my business, the guidance was so awful I call one adviser “the coach from hell.” Here are ten myths  about starting a business frequently presented as core wisdom. I recommend using intuition as a filter to evaluate all advice.

starting a business

1. “Career freedom means starting a business.”

Clients often assume they can reach career freedom only by starting a business. I know dozens of people who feel very free in a corporate setting. They swim easily in the corporate stream and learn to balance their lives. Some even return after successful entrepreneurial ventures.

2. “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Some advisers tell you, “You’ll be great,” even if they secretly believe you’re following a harebrained path that is doomed to fail. Do your own research and get second and third opinions.

3. “Visualize success.”

While I support visualizing and attracting, I do not believe you can attract business from a non-existent target market. Better to attract prosperity and fulfillment. You might also try to attract knowledge and discernment so you can evaluate your various advisers.

4. “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

In her wonderful book, Finding your own north star, Martha Beck debunks this myth with a simple example: She once dreamed she found herself in a bathtub with ex-President Clinton and an owl. Other people dream of meeting the Queen of England or connecting with people who lived ten centuries ago.

The reverse is often true: “You must be able to imagine yourself successful in order to reach your goals.” Still, I know people who were catapulted to success far beyond their dreams; they missed the ride but managed to enjoy their arrival.

5. “If other people can have a successful business, you can too.”

You may be smarter, more creative and more energetic than your friend James, but James may have that special entrepreneurial spark, a trust fund, or a network of millionaires.  I once had a colleague who would get unsolicited offers of consulting jobs whenever he gave a talk to a group or even a college class. He had a unique combination of expertise, confidence and charm.

Unless you strongly resemble those “other people,” they’re irrelevant.

6. “You will probably fail.”

Your adviser may be using fear to motivate you to work harder or sign up for his success course.

Here’s a legend: “Maestro,” says the surgeon to the famous musician, “I played for you at a master class. You advised me to stop playing professionally. You said I would never be great. I want to thank you. I listened to your advice and became a doctor.” The maestro peers at the surgeon: “I do not remember you. I tell all my students that. The great ones ignore my advice and continue anyway.”

7. “If you feel energized about your goal, you will be successful.”

Feeling energized just means you enjoy some aspect of what you are doing. Figure out what you enjoy and design a life to include more of it.

My old friend Richard was energized about his failing business for ten years of negative income. Last I heard he was with a temporary agency, paid hourly, holding on to the title of “independent contractor.

8. “You can always go back to what you were doing before.”

After months or years of trying to start a business, you and your former career will be different and your former colleagues will view you differently. Better to begin with a job that you can leave if you become successful. Stay in a position of power.

9.”You have had a successful career so far and you’ll figure out how to be successful now.”

Basketball players do not always thrive on football teams and baseball is a different game altogether. Enough said.

10. “You will be fine; you just need more confidence.”

If you lack self-confidence in several areas of your life, see a clinician. Otherwise your lack of confidence in your entrepreneurial skills is probably reality-based and should be viewed as a signal to find another adviser.

Recommended Books on Myths About Starting a Business:

 About the Author: 

Cathy Goodwin, PhD, author, career consultant and speaker Helps mid-career professionals find career freedom. http://www.movinglady.com/coaching.html Career Freedom
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Category: Startup Basics

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